George Hickman, original Tuskegee airman and longtime Seahawks worker, dies

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SEATTLE - George Hickman, one of the original Tuskegee airmen and a longtime usher at University of Washington and Seahawks football games, has died.

“We do miss him,” said Doris Hickman, George’s widow. “Just miss his presence.”

Doris and George married 57 years ago and shared a home in Seattle’s Montlake neighborhood. She said he never talked much about his place in history as one of the first black men trained to be a U.S. military pilot.

“He was so very pleased that after all these years, they decided to honor these people who had made such a fantastic contribution to this country,” she said.

In 2007, George, the grandson of slaves, was among nearly 200 surviving Tuskegee airmen awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the country’s highest civilian honor.

He worked for Boeing for nearly 30 years, and had a deep love for people and sports. Late last year, he was chosen to raise the Seahawks 12th Man Flag. He called the experience, “one of the most exciting days of my life.”

Doris said George didn't fear death, and passed away proud on Sunday at 88 years old.

"I just think God took him home," she said. "He had served his purpose here, so I feel good that he did what he wanted to do. He loved his family and enjoyed life to fullest."